Woman dies after fight

By JANE GARDNER

jgardner@northernstar.com.au

A BALLINA man has been charged in connection with the suspicious death of his de-facto partner at their Riverside Drive home on Friday night.

The man, 40, was arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The 37-year-old mother of two was pronounced dead at their non-descript small brick house at 10.40pm Friday night.

At 1.30am Saturday, her partner was arrested at the home and charged with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He appeared in Lismore Bail Court on Sunday, where bail was denied, and remains in custody of the Lismore Police.

Richmond Local Area Command Detective Inspector Steve Clarke said police could not reveal the circumstances of her death until a post-mortem could be carried out today.

"We don't know if drugs were involved, we don't know if a weapon was involved and more answers will be available after the post-mortem," he said.

David Northcott, who lives directly across the street from the family, said he heard a loud and heated argument on Friday.

"He was going off. I got home from work at about 3.30pm and could hear him screaming at her," Mr Northcott said.

"He kept saying, 'Come on, get out of bed. It's Friday and we are going out'.

"She was asleep and he kept telling her to get up but she didn't want to."

The argument died down until later that evening, when the screaming began again.

"You couldn't hear what they were saying, it was just screaming," Mr Northcott said.

At 10.40pm, residents in the street watched in horror as an ambulance pulled up in the driveway and her body was carried out.

Despite residing at the house for over two years, the family appear to have kept to themselves, with neighbours saying they didn't even know their names.

Mr Northcott said the woman would often walk past his house with her eldest child to feed the fish in his pond and was a nice person who would wave hello.

"It's so sad. She was a good lady," he said.

Other neighbours interviewed by The Northern Star yesterday expressed concern about the future of the dead woman's two young children.

It is believed the woman had a four-week-old baby and a fouryear-old daughter in her care.

Police said the children were not home at the time the woman died and were now staying with relatives.

A 24-hour police guard has been stationed at the crime scene since Friday to ensure nothing is disturbed before detectives start their investigations there today.

Elderly neighbours who lived two doors up from the family said the news of her death had rattled them.

"It is normally such a quiet and peaceful street and we've never had any problems here," the neighbour said.

A post-mortem was expected to be carried out over the next few days, after which, more details would be released.



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